Starting a business is a step closer to financial freedom. Statistics show that a bigger percentage of startups fail within the first five years, which makes the fear of failure the biggest reason for procrastination when it comes to starting a business. While there is no perfect way to start one, seeking a little guidance can go a long way in sustaining a business. That is why the following tips and tricks are meant to help you set up your startup for success.
1. Start with a simple business plan
It is always good to start a business with a plan in hand. This is because a business plan will curve for you the direction that you want to take with your business. It doesn’t have to be too deep as you are just starting out. Start with the basics such as your main product or service, pricing, target market and capital required to get into motion. You can always expand the document as everything starts to take shape to include a mission statement, longer projections and summary of the company among other complex details.
2. Start small
Sometimes the reason why startups fail to pick is that entrepreneurs start with complicated products that become hard to sell. It is always good to play it safe and start with something simple and expand it as the business grows. Narrow your focus on the most important features that will provide a solution to your target customers. You will be able to create a quality product or service if you have cut off unnecessary features. You will learn customer behavior as you continue, which will enable you to streamline the product to meet their needs.
3. Cut on expenses
Still, on starting small, you will need to cut down expenses as much as possible. You are probably starting your business from a loan, or the little savings that you’ve managed to keep aside for years.
There are many costs that come with starting a business including rent, marketing, and supplies, among others. The money you have should be able to take the business for a while before profits start streaming in, necessitating the need to keep expenses at the minimum. Look for places that you can cut down. Since you are starting out, you won’t necessarily need an office. If for instance, you are setting up a business in Dallas, you can utilize a co-working space in Dallas for your office work and save on office rent. In addition, you can take advantage of the reliable conferencing facilities to meet up with clients and save on lunch meeting meals and coffee expenses.
4. Tell people about your business
You will need to find ways to get your business out there, but you are the best person to tell the people around you about your venture. Attend any networking functions around you and spread the word about your business. The good thing about this is that you will receive raw reaction about your business and know how to streamline your product. In addition, you will also be building your communication skills, which will come in handy when you start negotiating with customers and suppliers.
5. Start right with the authorities
Legal and taxation messes are harder to solve if you notice them after the business has taken off. That is why it is necessary to start right on these areas to ensure a smooth run with the law and taxation bodies. If you are not familiar with the law and taxation in your area, do not be afraid to hire professionals.
6. Keep your day job as you build
Somewhere along the journey, you will experience phases that your business will not be making any money. It also takes time before your business builds a steady cash flow, yet you have to take care of expenses both business and personal. If you hold a 9-5 job, it is important that you hold on to it a little longer. You can use your after work hours to work on your business. When your business is at a healthier place, you can then gradually move from being employed to embrace being an entrepreneur.
7. Have a plan for the worst case scenario
No one starts a business with an intention to fail. If you ask any startup owner, their projection is money to start trickling in from day one and continue increasing. However, the reality of business is far much different from this. There are times that you will experience periods of zero income. When starting up a business, it is important that you prepare for the worst. Think of what you would do if your plan failed. Do you have a fall back plan that can sustain you until you get back up? Having a clear plan of what you would in such a situation helps you stay aware of business dynamics. You will have a better chance of picking it up faster and getting back running if your business was to fail.
8. Research on competition
Every entrepreneur is aware of competition even before launching their startup. That is why people try as much as possible to create a unique product. However, no matter how different a product is from the rest in the market, the competition will always be a threat. This is because the problem that you are seeking to solve already existed, and people had a workaround about it even before your product emerged in the market. If you want to succeed in the market, ensure that you do thorough research on the competition. Get to know about their product and how they market and sell it. That is how you will learn of loopholes that can form the basis of your competitive advantage in the market. Learn to do this constantly in the course of your business journey.
9. Plan the operations well
Sometimes the excitement of starting a business gets in the way of planning the operations. A majority of the people start a business with just a product, not knowing how it will get to their customers. Before launching your products, ensure that you have planned out the operations. Know how deliveries will be made, and if they are late, how you will answer to that. Decide how you will invoice the customers and the best ways to follow up on payments. Decide on the best method to receive payments. If you have a website and social media presence, know how they will be managed and by who. Having these logistics planned well at the beginning ensures a smooth running of operations.
10. Be digitized
In this era of digitization, it is very critical that you have a strong digital presence from the word go. Days are gone when customers bought a new product after hearing about it from friends. Today, customers must run an online search about a business before trusting the product. Ensure that you have set your business pages in all social media platforms that your customers frequent. Create a business website and make it professional, complete with a section for customers’ comments. Create a mailing list, customers feel attached to a brand if they receive emails about the products or any promotions and special offers. Having a digital presence will not only give you loyal customers, but you will be set to attract more prospects.
Starting a business doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple with your idea to prevent your venture from snowballing to something that you can’t control. Research on the market, check out competitors to learn a thing or two and get it right with the regulations. Your business stands a chance for survival if you start it right.